Canker sores, tooth decay, gingivitis, oral cancer, so many common oral diseases that most can be avoided by adopting some good lifestyle habits, including excellent dental hygiene. Here are the most common conditions and symptoms to watch out for.
Oral cancer is defined as the abnormal growth and spread of cells in the mouth. It is most common after age 40 and more common in men than women. It seems three people die from it every day in Canada. This cancer can affect multiple parts of the mouth, including the gums, lips, tongue, tonsils, inside of the cheeks, palate and throat.
Signs and symptoms to look out for:
- unexplained bleeding in the mouth;
- mouth ulcers or sores that don’t heal;
- a persistent sore throat;
- Difficulties swallowing;
- dark red or white areas in the mouth, lips, or tongue;
- lumps in the mouth;
- changed taste or feeling on the tongue.
- Smoking and the use of tobacco products increase the risk of developing oral cancer, especially if you drink alcohol regularly.
- Large amounts of alcohol also increase the risk of developing oral cancer.
- The human papillomavirus (HPV).
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
- Sun exposure without protection on the lips.
- Finally, as with other oral diseases, poor hygiene is closely linked to oral cancer.
Prevention: It is based on various measures, including:
- wear UV-protecting lip balm when you go outside;
- eat a healthy and varied diet;
- keep our alcohol consumption to a minimum;
- stop smoking;
- Use a condom to avoid contracting HIV.
The gum is a thick mucous membrane that covers the base of the tooth in the lower jaw and prevents microbes from entering the tooth’s casing, the alveolar bone. Gum disease causes inflammation of the gums, but also the bone and tissues that surround and support the tooth. While this type of disease is often difficult to recognize when it develops, the pain is usually present in the advanced stages. Infected gums can also lead to the loss of our teeth. There are two types of gum disease, gingivitis and periodontitis, which can be caused by:
- poor oral hygiene;
- HIV infections;
- certain medications;
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy.
1. Gingivitis This is the least serious gum disease. It occurs when the acids produced in the presence of plaque and sugar attack the tooth surface but also the gums. These then become red and inflamed, and you may experience pain, bad breath and notice blood when you brush your teeth.
Prevention: It’s a good idea to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque, which over time forms tartar, which can promote the onset of another form of gum disease, periodontal disease.
2. Periodontitis This condition affects both the gums and the bones. And once bone loss occurs, it can lead to loosening or even loss of teeth. Symptoms are similar to gingivitis, namely persistent bad breath and pain, but there are also loose teeth, sometimes spontaneous bleeding, pus, and a bad taste in the mouth.
Prevention: Because the damage caused by periodontitis is often irreversible, good oral hygiene remains the only way to prevent it.
Tooth decay is an infectious disease that destroys the hard tooth structure. It forms when the bacteria in plaque (a sticky substance that forms on our teeth and gums) mix with the sugars we eat: acids are then formed, which attack the enamel on the surface of the teeth and cause a cavity. or decay. If not treated quickly, it will progress into the structure of the tooth, causing pain and sometimes the fracture or loss of the affected tooth.
Prevention: It relies on regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque.
Other health issues…
In addition to oral diseases, poor oral hygiene can lead to general health problems over time, as the many bacteria in the mouth can enter the blood if brushing is not eliminated. Here are some of the diseases that can then occur:
diabetes Several studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop a more severe form of gingivitis or periodontitis, especially if their blood sugar is not well controlled.
cardiovascular diseases When oral bacteria get into the blood, there is an increased risk of forming a blood clot, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Rheumatoid arthritis It appears that periodontal bacteria are involved in the onset and progression of rheumatoid arthritis, as researchers have found that the patients most likely to develop the disease have gum disease.